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Experience Christmas in a European house

DURING this festive season, Shanghai Times Square presents a memorable experience of authentic Christmas culture, entertainment and traditions. The lighting ceremony at the shopping mall began the Christmas celebration season with a new theme 'Christmas Full House.' Following the footprints of reindeers, shoppers are invited to visit a fascinating European house with a large-scale handicraft nativity scene, and receive seasonal greetings from Santa Claus.

As the central part of the seasonal celebration, the house is built with great support from the Austrian, Belgian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian and Portuguese Consulates in Shanghai. Diversified decorations from these countries create a magical festive atmosphere. For most Western families, the nativity scene, which represents the birth of Jesus, is one of the most recognized traditions during Christmas. The nativity scene which makes its debut at Shanghai Times Square is about 70 years old and is handmade from burnt clay only found in Marktredwitz pottery. In the German section of this house, people can also find porcelain from Sieger, kitchenware from Fissler and bread from Abendbrot.

The exquisite patterns of ceramic tiles are a distinct part of Portuguese culture. A large ceramic tile design replica will be exhibited in the Portuguese section, the original can be found at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon. Due to its maritime history, Greece traditionally displays a boat at Christmas. Top Greek brand COCO-MAT brings its home furnishings with a Mediterranean breeze to the house. Italy has a table-setting decorated by children from the Gianni Rodari Italian school. The children also sing Italian Christmas carols at the lighting ceremony. Belgium presents a romantic Christmas with the scent of flowers, while home textiles from Austria and crystal from luxury French brand Baccarat are also on display. Of course, the home of Santa Claus cannot be forgotten so there is an authentic Father Christmas traveling all the way from Lapland, Finland, to greet visitors. Everyone has a chance to receive gifts from him.

Additionally, an installation artwork created by the emerging Chinese artist Lu Jiawei stands in the open plazza of the shopping mall. Nine reindeers, the icon of Christmas, are supposed to fly in the sky and pull Santa's sleigh filled with toys. However, they are also at risk from global warming and this artwork aims to arouse people's awareness of environmental issues. According to Cathy Hau, deputy general manager of Shanghai Times Square, a variety of well-received cultural events have been held in the public space of the shopping mall, such as Giovanni Allevi Piano Solo Concert, Montreal Contemporary Art Exhibition and annual German Week, which provide a platform for artists around the world to showcase their creativity and talents. 'This time we are very delighted to collaborate with eight European Consulates to create an original Christmas atmosphere in Shanghai,' Hau says. 'I am sure the whole celebration will bring everyone an unparalleled festive experience of joy, peace and goodwill.'

Date: through January 5, 10am-10pm Venue: Shanghai Times Square, 99 Huaihai Rd M. Admission: free Tel: 6391-0691"

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